Since I began Professional Parents, I have truly been learning a lot about work/life balance. There is always a huge gap between what I would like to do and what I am able to do. This is something I find difficult at times to admit to both myself and publically! However I thought that it might be interesting to others, especially others who are balancing business and babies, to know what is going on “behind the scenes” with the Professional Parents workshops.
Though Professional Parents has been created to become a network and community, it is currently completely facilitated by just one person…me! I need to fit it all around my other commitments in life and this usually means working late while the girls are asleep.
I’ve now organised, marketed and facilitated six workshops in four months (from March – June 2010), with four being held in Brisbane and two on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve loved the challenge, had fantastic feedback and met some wonderful people. Though being a bit of a perfectionist (and you can leave out “a bit of”!), I’ve put a huge amount of work and countless hours into organising each these to make sure that everyone who attends truly got value out of the time they took out of their busy lives to attend.
Firstly, what I identified as being “valuable” to Professional Parents is learning something relevant at each workshop, so have spent a lot of time sourcing relevant information, preparing programmes, arranging speakers and putting together my own presentations.
Secondly, I felt a networking workshop isn’t much good if there are not many people to network with! So I have spent hours and hours marketing Professional Parents: finding those who may be interested (through my own network, Facebook, markets for example), explaining the concept to people, encouraging them to overcome being shy, trying to find dates and locations that suit those who were interested, taking bookings and often juggling last-minute cancellations and trying to fill these places to make sure there was a good-sized group each time.
The goal was always to hold workshops “regularly” in both locations – a word I used deliberately to give myself some flexibility, though have been aiming at monthly, and managed this from March-June in Brisbane and May-June on the Sunshine Coast.
As many of you know, our little family just took a month’s holiday to visit relatives in The Netherlands so I took a break from work for a whole month in July. Well I tried to. That in itself is a whole other story and blog post.
We returned on 1st August and this month is already flying by. I miss the workshops, and have a whole list of people interested in attending, some great speakers lined up and have found a new Brisbane North location to cope with the growth of the group. Plans for a Brisbane South workshop were already underway before holidays, and I loved the location we held the Sunshine Coast one at. I have a lot of ideas on constantly improving each workshop and look forward to sharing these soon.
However, there are only so many hours in the day and I have several issues and projects on the go – which is usual for me but even more so right now. While on holidays, Sophia turned 3 and Isabella 1, and anyone who has ever had children that age knows how much attention they demand. Both my husband and I are job-hunting at the moment – his company downsized, and I have always had long-term plans to work part-time (alongside running Professional Parents and Zestee) once my youngest turned 1.
I’m also shortly launching a Professional Parents Playgroup in North Lakes (North Brisbane) so am working on that, which has grown from discussions and friendships that have formed through the network – we wanted a more fun and casual event to compliment the more structured format of the workshops.
So that’s the “behind the scenes” story of why there are currently no dates for future workshops, but watch this space as I can’t wait to get going again! I expect to plan dates for North Brisbane, South Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast within the next month or two. Join our group at www.facebook.com/professionalparents to keep up to date with events or sign up for the newsletter at www.professionalparents.com.au
Love to hear your own comments and stories about the gaps between what you’d like to do and what you’re able to do!
Our family on holidays in The Netherlands, outside the house which my husband’s grandfather built, his father was born in, he was also born in and where his sister and her family now live.